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(Review originally written at 9 July 2010)

I'm not big on westerns but I absolutely love this movie.

It's a movie that just basically does everything right. It has a great, simple story, great characters and actors portraying them, a great build up and some fine directing. I just can't see how anyone could ever not like this movie.

The movie has a real simple main premise, of a former lawman, who shortly after his marriage hears that he man he once put behind bars is out again and on his way to get his revenge. Instead of deciding to run with his newly wed wife he decides to stay and stand his ground and confront his enemies. He then learns who truly his friends were during the time that he lived in town and was the Marshall. It's a story about courage, friendship and loyalty. It above all things is also being a very realistic western with its story and characters. It's not being an heroic movie and it shows humans how the truly are and respond to certain threatening situations.

The movie gets beautiful constructed and build up. Director Fred Zinnemann did a great job with this movie. It's simplistic but all so incredibly effective. It makes the movie an absolutely compelling one to watch, even if you aren't really being into the western genre.

The cast is at first sight a rather unlikely one. I mean, an aging Gary Cooper as the main character. Lloyd Bridges, Grace Kelly and Lon Chaney Jr. in western roles. It all don't seem like the most likely casting picks. But truth it that every actor does a great job and let their characters work out. Also real great to see Lee Van Cleef making his movie debut in this one.

It's also a real great looking movie in terms of its style. I can definitely see how some of the camera-work and editing influenced later westerns, such as the Sergio Leone ones. I was amazed at how great the movie was looking at times. I also really liked the musical score by Dimitri Tiomkin.

Not just one of the best westerns but also really one of the best movies I have ever seen.

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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